I am a college student and a maker who loves comic book movies. In my room currently I have a dozen Marvel props, posters, or costumes on display. My roommate is a musician with a recording studio in the dorm. I was looking for some furniture for our dorm and I stumbled upon this $1,600 cassette tape coffee table on Etsy. It is super cool, but WAAAYYY out of my college budget.
So I set out to build my own...and here's how you can too.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
You will need:
(2) 2"x4"x8' timbers (~$6)
(2) 2"x6"x10' timber (~$5)
(1) 6"x27"x1/4" plywood sheet (~$9)
(1) 1/2"plywood (~$10)
assorted paint / stain ($10)
table legs OR use scrap steel/wood to build your own legs (optional) (free and up)
3" wood screws (free)
wood glue (free)
2" diameter hole drill attachment/bit
4" diameter hole drill attachment/bit
drill bit slightly thinner than your 3" screws
orbital sander + sanding disks
...Or just improvise!
Step 2: Cut Wood Pieces to Size
Cut two lengths of 2x4 so that the longest length is 40" long.
Cut the other two 2x4 sides so that the longest length is 25" long.
The 2x4s will be used to construct a frame, so they are cut at 45 degree angles to join together in the corners.
Cut them at a 45 degree angle using a miter's saw.
These are the only timbers that have to be at an angle.
Cut two 2x6 boards to 22" and one to 37".
Cut a plywood sheet to 37" x 16 3/8".
Step 3: Assemble Basic Frame
Start by building the basic frame from 2x4s.
Line 'em up. Drill starter holes. Add wood glue. Screw 'em tight.
Set in the longer of the 2x6 planks, glue and drill it in from the sides.
Then set the other 2x6 braces in the frame, atop the longer 2x6. Screw them in from the sides, and down into the longer 2x6. To keep them level, it may help to prop the braces up with scrap pieces of 2x6 before drilling.
Flip it over and that's your basic frame.
Drop in the plywood to ensure that it fits snugly.
You can attach legs to the underside of the 2x6 braces now or later.
Step 4: Add Cassete Accents
One of the main things that gives the table a cassette tape look are the two holes that look like the tape deck holes. To make these, use your 4" drill bit to drill two main holes in the plywood sheet. The centerpoint of the holes should be inset from the top corners by 10.5" as indicated in the photos.
Now to replicate the trapezoid shape at the bottom of a cassette, we cut a 6 x 27 x 1/4" piece of plywood with the table saw, then cut the sides at a 30 degree angle with the miter saw. Drill four accent holes in the trapezoid using the photos above or other reference photos as a guide.
Attach the trapezoid how you see fit. I attempted to drill from the underside of the table out to the trapezoid so that no screws would be visible, but it would be much more secure and level if you drilled from the top down.
The sides of a cassette have little raised notches in them that guide the cassette into a player. I had some scrap wood lying around that I cut to 14 x 1 1/2 x 3/4" and rounded with the power sander. screw them into the sides.
Sand everything smooth.
Step 5: Paint/Stain
You can paint yours however you want. Off the top of my head I had some other ideas as well: replicate that mixtape you gave your boo thing ages ago, or your other favorite tape, but I settled on the "Awesome Mix Vol. 1" from Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy.
I first removed the plywood tabletop piece, which will be painted like the label/sticker on the cassette and stained the frame with an Ebony stain. Then I moved on to the label.
Then I taped off everything but a rectangle around the holes and used the ebony stain on it as well.
Next I removed the tape in the areas that I winged the red stripes, using an online screen capture for reference. I sprayed red spray paint over all that was showing (including the part that was already ebony). This is probably not the perfect approach, but the red barely tinted he ebony areas and it saved me a lot of time and precision in retaking everything.
once that was all dry, I removed the rest of the tape, sanded down any areas where stain had bled through the cracks in the tape, and using medium grit sandpaper, roughed up the paint job to give it a "vintage" look. Then I covered the ENTIRE board in a light stain. This gave it uniform gloss and darkened everything beautifully.
Now just use some black or brown paint to add the "awesome mix vol. 1" text at the top and you're done!
Step 6: Add Legs
A coffee table top is generally 14"-18" high, so you will want to buy/build legs that are around 12".
I am in the process of cutting/welding my own legs out of scrap steel to give the table a slight reclaimed industrial vibe, adding to the vintage flair of the cassette shape. I'll be sure to post photos when I finish.
OR come up with your own amazing idea and post a comment below! Need inspiration?
In the future, I might add some LED strip lights for an underglow which would shine up through the tape deck holes.
I hope this 'ible inspires some creativity in someone else to make their own cheaper version of something cool that they can't afford.